Sept. 17, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Mizzou volleyball team escaped with a 3-2 (13-25, 25-22, 25-21, 20-25, 15-9), defensive-minded win against Villanova in its second match of the American Volleyball Classic on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 17) in Washington, D.C. In all, five Tigers finished with double-digit dig totals as Mizzou pulled in 104 as a team, its most since 2003 and the second-most during the rally scoring era. Sophomore setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) tallied a career-best 22 digs to lead the Tigers as she posted her first career 20-20 effort with 41 assists as well. With the win, Mizzou is now 12-3 on the season.
Offensively, freshman Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) led the way with a career-best 20 kills on 61 attacks while sophomore Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) pitched in 15 kills while pulling in a career-best 18 digs for her third double-double of the season. Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) added eight kills as well.
In all, each of the Tigers' top five diggers on Saturday finished with more than 15 as four of the top five posted career-best totals. Freshmen Katie O'Brien (Dallas, Texas) and Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) each pulled in a career-best 15 while senior libero Priscilla Armendariz (Blue Springs, Mo.) added 19. Freshman Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) also finished with a career-best seven digs. The Tigers' team defensive effort outshined the individual effort of Villanova libero Kim Maroon, who finished with a match-high 42 digs. Neither team - due to the play of both back rows - hit better than .141 in the match as Villanova actually outhit the Tigers, who finished the match with a .125 clip.
The Tigers were aced on the first serve of the match and Villanova eventually built a 6-2 lead after tallying a kill on the longest rally of the match, prompting a timeout from head coach Wayne Kreklow
. Villanova tacked on three more points out of the timeout before Henning stopped the Wildcat rally with a right-side kill off the block. From that point, Mizzou started to play better as it cut into the lead, getting as close as 16-12, but Villanova then ran off three straight points to open another seven-point lead at 19-12, forcing another timeout. Mizzou scored just once from that point as Villanova ran away with the first, 25-13. Mizzou had just six kills in the first set on 39 attacks as Villanova had 25 digs in the first set alone.
Mizzou took advantage of a few early errors from Villanova in the second as it raced out to a 4-1 lead and then Wilson took over for the Tigers as they built a 13-7 lead. Mizzou's defense was much better in the second set as evidenced by a rally with the Tigers leading 18-13. The Tigers dug several big attacks and finally ended the rally with another kill from Wilson and eventually built a 21-14 lead, forcing Villanova to use its final timeout.
Out of the stoppage, the Wildcats scored four straight points to cut the lead to just three at 21-18 as the Tigers' passing broke down a little bit. But Villanova committed several service and attack errors down the stretch as Mizzou stopped the run and took the second, 25-22, after a kill from Brimmage in the middle.
Wilson led the Tigers in the second with five kills on 10 swings as she led Mizzou with eight kills through the first two sets. The Tiger back row was very good in the second, pulling in 24 digs led by nine from Armendariz and five from Henning. The Tiger back row helped limit Villanova to just .136 hitting in the second.
Mizzou let Villanova gain an early lead in the third set until Wilson drew the Tigers even at 8-8 with back-to-back kills. The Tigers then buried a pair of overpasses and Wilson then tallied a solo block to end a long point to give Mizzou an 11-8 lead. After Mizzou extended its lead to 15-11, the Wildcats attempted to rally, getting within two points, but Henning and Brimmage teamed for a huge block on the left side to regain a 19-14 lead. Villanova got back within two at 20-18, but two key attack errors from Villanova's Morgan Petkovic and two huge kills from Henning helped Mizzou pull away with a 25-21 set win.
Henning had a great set in the third as the tallied five kills on 12 attacks while Wilson pitched in three more. The big story for the Tigers in the set was again the play of the back row as it once again pulled in 24 digs. Henning and Kreklow each had five in the frame while O'Brien added four more.
The fourth set was very competitive in the early stages as the teams played to an 8-8 tie after a big solo block from Little. But, Villanova ran off three straight points after that block to take an 11-8 lead before Mizzou rallied to tie the match at 13-13. The two teams played even until Villanova gained a 20-17 edge, forcing a Tiger timeout. That small run put the set away for the Wildcats as they won the fourth, 25-20, setting up the Tigers' second five-set match of the season.
Mizzou won the race to eight as it took an 8-6 lead after a kill from Henning as the teams switched sides. After the teams switched sides, a good serve from Henning forced a bad set from Villanova's Allie Dibernardo as the Tigers found themselves on top, 9-6, forcing a Villanova timeout. The Tigers scored again to go on top, 10-6, before Villanova ran off two straight points, forcing Wayne Kreklow to use a timeout with his team on top by two. Following that point, Mizzou won a long rally on a kill in the middle from Brimmage and Wilson picked up another kill after that as Mizzou went back on top, 12-8. Mizzou then scored three of the next four points, capped by a kill from Wilson, to claim the fifth, 15-9.
Mizzou will be back in action against American at 6 p.m. (CT). For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.